Fall issue 2020
Seeing a black cloud of smoke emanating from the bottom of a tractor-trailer? You might think the tires have caught on fire. Look closer and you might find it’s the brakes and not the tires.
There are several factors that play a part in preventing wheel-end fires; one for example is dragging brakes. This can be caused by various reasons, such as brakes not releasing after being applied, corrosion-related binding within the internal parts of the brake systems or even something as commonly done as driving with the parking brake applied. Proper preventive maintenance and inspection is, of course the best way to avoid the worst situation. But driver awareness is also crucial in noticing a difference in handling of the vehicle. The driver may not necessary feel a couple of brakes dragging because of the immense weight and power of the vehicle but could feel an unusual pulling or unprovoked slow-down while driving. Excessive amount of smoke coming from the brakes should also be a red flag. Still the driver cannot notice everything or know what to look for without proper training in wheel-end inspection, and they are at least one more defense against wheel-end fires.
One survey showed more than three-quarters of reported fires occurred on vehicles furnished with drum brakes and self-adjusting brake adjusters, while the rest of the reported fires were outfitted with disc-brakes. Unlike drum brakes, which allow heat to build up inside the drum during heavy braking, the rotor used in disc brakes is fully exposed to outside air. This exposure works to constantly cool the rotor, greatly reducing its tendency to overheat or cause fading.
If you are servicing vehicles equipped with air disc brakes, you should stock proper parts such as repair and replacement parts like caliper repair kits (although some new models of calipers are sealed and cannot be repaired by the user), rotors and brake pads. The good news about air disc brakes is that steer and drive axle brakes are essentially the same. This allows for the same pad replacement kits to be used regardless of the wheel-end position for both tractors and trailers. DuraBrake continues expanding its air disc brake product line and the number of part numbers, to support rising market demand. As more vehicles are equipped with air disc brakes, the need for replacement products continues to grow. DuraBrake’s Disc Brake Caliper Repair Kit contains the components necessary for repair of the Disc Brake Caliper. All of the rubber components are of high-quality designed for resistance to glycol-based brake fluid. In addition to replacement parts for air disc brakes, DuraBrake is also a major producer of hydraulic brake replacement parts. DuraBrake has been a major supplier of OEM and aftermarket wheel end components and assemblies with brake drums and brake discs. With over seven decades of experience in manufacturing, logistics management, large production capacity, and quality control expertise, DuraBrake’s Strategic Formula is a proven example of specialty know-how & long-term success.